Maternal mortality rate down by half in South Asia: UN

July 8th, 2011 - 10:01 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 8 (IANS) Eleven years after adopting millennium development goals (MDG), the UN has observed a reduction in maternal mortality rate by over 50 percent in South Asia, a report said here Friday.

The MDG, adopted by world leaders in the year 2000, are a set of targets to reduce global poverty and improve living standards by 2015.

“Between 1990 and 2008, maternal mortality declined by 53 percent in South Asia, including Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, and Afghanistan among others,” the report said. But it added the South Asian region still “lags in nutrition, sanitation, and gender equality”.

According to the Census Commission, India has managed to bring down the rate of deaths among women during delivery by 17 percent, recording 212 deaths due to motherhood causes for one lakh child births in 2007-09.

But it is still far away from the UN’s millennium development goal of 109.

The ratio for the period 2004-06 was 254 deaths, thus marking a drop of 42 points in 2007-09.

The report brings a ray of hope to India, stating that the country is on track to meet its ‘poverty reduction’ goal by 51 percent (1990) to 22 percent in 2015.

The report lists nutrition and gender equality as matters of concern for South Asia, saying that the sub-region has highest rate of child undernutrition in the world.

“This matters greatly because India composes for a huge population when we talk of South Asia. I think India needs to dole out more money on schemes such as National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) and various others on maternal and child development,” said Jayati Ghosh, professor of economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

“All of our problems are interlinked — sanitation, nutrition, employment, child delivery, education, growth programmes. It is important to keep taking a stock of the schemes we have in terms of statistics,” Ghosh added.

The ratios of girl education were also startling: “74 girls were enrolled in tertiary education as compared to 100 boys for South Asia.”

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